Ronnie O’Sullivan was in devastating form as he eased past Liang Wenbo with a 5-1 win to make the last eight of the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno.
The Rocket has been struggling to produce his best snooker since claiming a record seventh Masters title in January. It was at this year’s Masters that the pair last met, where Liang spurned a straightforward black to win the match and O’Sullivan progressed 6-5.
Liang was first out of the blocks in the opener with a run of 52, but O’Sullivan hit back with a contribution of 72 to go one ahead. The English Open Champion Liang restored parity, but from there the Rocket took control. Breaks of 65, 118, 101 and 71 saw him burst to an impressive win.
The result sets up a potential clash with world number three Judd Trump, who faces Mark King tomorrow. Trump and O’Sullivan have met in Llandudno before, the Ace in the Pack came from 7-4 down to win the 2015 World Grand Prix final 10-7.
Anthony Hamilton continued his superb season by demolishing world number two Stuart Bingham 5-1.
The 45-year-old qualified for this week thanks to claiming an emotional maiden ranking title at the German Masters in February. Recent Welsh Open Champion Bingham couldn’t extend his winning streak in Wales.
The Sheriff of Pottingham immediately put his opponent on the back foot with a stunning 131 in the opening frame. The standard continued in the third, as Hamilton compiled a century run of 104 to move 3-0 ahead.
Crucially the world number 33 won a 56 minute frame before the interval. There was a drawn out safety exchange on the final blue, before Hamilton eventually took the frame and extended his advantage to four. It was a deficit which Bingham couldn’t overturn as the Nottingham potter booked a last eight tie with either Ding Junhui or John Higgins.
“I was concentrating really well and didn’t give him much of a sniff,” said the German Masters Champion. “To open with 131 was a big statement. I remember when I used to play Hendry and he would make 100 first poke and just look at you to see how you are feeling. It’s nice to score and win in one visit, it’s a confidence boost. I was happy with the scrappy frame to go 4-0 up and basically get the job done.
“You can get beat 5-0 in a heartbeat by both John Higgins and Ding. It’s almost an honour for me to face these players. They are true legends of our sport, but I will be trying to beat whoever gets through.”